World briefs

Barack Obama, Xi JinpingCHINA Barack Obama opened two days of talks yesterday with Chinese President Xi Jinping at a sprawling garden compound next to the Forbidden City, telling the Chinese leader he wants to take the relationship “to a new level.” Obama said he hoped for productive, candid talks of the kind they held last year at the Sunnylands estate in California, where the two leaders aimed to forge a close personal bond during hours of meetings and a long stroll through its manicured gardens.

INDIA Eight Indian women have died and 20 others are in critical condition after undergoing sterilization surgeries in a free government-run program to help slow the country’s population growth. A total of 83 women, all poor villagers under the age of 32, had the operations in a hospital outside Bilaspur city in the central state of Chhattisgarh, officials said. More on p15

PAKISTAN A head-on collision between a passenger bus and a truck on a highway in southern Pakistan killed 58 people, police say. The collision ignited a fuel fire. The bus, with about 70 people, had left Swat Valley and was en route to the southern port city of Karachi when it collided head-on with the truck near Khairpur district in Sindh province. More on p14

PAKISTAN Two bombings and a militant attack on a checkpoint in Pakistan kill six people, officials say. The deadliest attack struck the security checkpoint in the northwestern Orakzai tribal region, killing three paramilitary soldiers.

IRAQI soldiers battling the Islamic State group recaptured the heart and outlying districts of the town of Beiji, home to the country’s largest oil refinery, state television and a provincial governor said yesterday. Retaking Beiji, 250 km north of Baghdad, could allow Iraqi forces a base to attack neighboring Tikrit, taken by the extremists after their lightning advance this summer.

NETHERLANDS Schoolchildren silently placed flowers next to 298 candles — one for each victim of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 — at a somber Dutch commemoration Monday of the air disaster that shook the nation nearly four months ago. The nationally televised event in Amsterdam highlighted the ongoing grief, disbelief and anger of the families and friends of those killed when the Boeing 777 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was downed July 17 over conflict-hit eastern Ukraine.

GERMANY The final countdown is approaching for one of the most audacious space adventures ever attempted. In less than 24 hours, the European Space Agency will try to land a robot on a comet. The maneuver marks the climax of the unmanned Rosetta probe’s decade-long journey to study comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

USA An emergency room doctor who was the first Ebola patient in the nation’s biggest city was scheduled to be released yesterday from a hospital after beating the virus.

USA President Barack Obama embraces a radical change in how the government treats Internet service, coming down on the side of consumer activists who fear slower download speeds and higher costs but angering U.S. cable giants who say the plan would kill jobs.

Categories World